Home Sports Bears training camp observations: Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney make plays

Bears training camp observations: Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney make plays

Bears training camp observations: Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney make plays

CHICAGO — The Bears’ offense remains a massive work in progress, but one thing is clear: Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney are rounding into form as we start Week 3 of camp.

Fields’ legs and Mooney’s hands were the stars of Tuesday’s practice during Family Fest at Soldier Field.

We’ll start with Mooney.

During the first 11-on-11 drill, Mooney lined up in the slot against rookie Jaylon Jones. Mooney gave Jones a stutter step before gliding outside on a wheel route. Fields tossed one up that only Mooney could grab, and the third-year wide receiver went up and plucked it out of the air with one hand to record the highlight of the day.

The low red zone is where Fields’ legs shined Tuesday.

The Bears ended Tuesday’s practice with low red zone work from the 6- and 3-yard lines.

On the first snap from the 6, Fields stepped up in the pocket and took off up the middle. He juked behind left guard Cody Whitehair and sauntered into the end zone for the score. Fields rolled a little left on the ensuing rep from the 3 and pump-faked a defender before gliding into the end zone.

While Fields and the offense once again found success in the red area, the unit has not been able to bottle that success during “move the ball” and “two-minute” periods that require them to go the length of the field.

During Tuesday’s two-minute drill, the offense took over at their own 15-yard line with 1:40 left and one timeout.

Fields opened the drive with a seed over the middle to Equanimeous St. Brown for a gain of 24. A turf monster sack, a timeout, and a short completion to Chase Allen set up third-and-8 at the 41-yard line. Fields dropped back and delivered a strike to Mooney in the middle of the field for 12 yards to move the chains.

Fields then scrambled for 6 yards and hit tight end Rysen John for 6 more down to the 34. After spiking the ball on first down, Fields threw short to John for a gain of 4 yards. With 18 seconds left, Robert Quinn came screaming around the left side and would have likely sacked Fields had he been allowed to get home. Instead, Fields stepped up and scrambled for 10 yards before stepping out of bounds at the 20-yard line with four seconds left.

Needing a touchdown, Fields dropped back on the final play and fired in the direction of Allen in the middle of the end zone. But the ball tailed behind the tight end, who was well covered by safety Eddie Jackson, and fell harmlessly to the turf, giving the defense the win.

With their first preseason game just four days away, the Bears’ offense believes they are making progress, but the production has yet to arrive.

“I think we are making big strides throughout camp,” St. Brown said. “OTA’s helped us a lot for us to get the offense in. Now, we are in camp with the pads on and I think these last few practices we have made big strides as an offense, 11 players on the field working as one. I think we will be ready for the first game.”

Fields and Mooney remain bright spots for the beleaguered offense, but good moments for the collective have been hard to come by when not in the red area.

Here are more notes from Day 11 of camp:
— Fields did throw several balls into traffic Tuesday. He almost had balls picked off by linebacker Matt Adams and cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

— Roquan Smith’s trade request overshadowed Tuesday’s practice. General manager Ryan Poles spoke to the media and reiterated that he wants Smith to be a Bear for a long time. However, Poles also noted his job is to do what’s best for the Bears’ long-term future.

— Smith still showed up to practice Tuesday and was seen on the sideline doing various exercises. The linebacker remains on the PUP list as contract negotiations continue.

— Kyler Gordon, Velus Jones Jr., Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, and Angelo Blackson all missed practice again.

After practice, head coach Matt Eberflus noted that Harry suffered an ankle injury and there was no timetable for his return. Eberflus did say Jones remains “day-by-day,” and the Bears feel good about where he is at in his recovery.

— Wide receiver David Moore came down awkwardly during one-on-one drills and had to be carted off.

— Tight end Cole Kmet left practice early Tuesday. He was seen shaking his arm after making a block and did not return. Eberflus did not have an update after practice.

— Rysen John had the best play of the day, non-first-team category. The tight end came wide open on a wheel route down the right sideline and third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman hit him on the numbers for a big gain.

— Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian hit Dazz Newsome for a touchdown in low red zone work for the second team.

— The Bears’ first-team offensive line appears to be coming together. Braxton Jones (LT), Cody Whitehair (LG), Sam Mustipher (C), Michael Schofield (RG), and Riley Reiff (RT) all took first-team reps during team drills Tuesday.

— Even Jenkins continued his ramp-up period. The 24-year-old tackle saw action at second-team right tackle during the first team period. He did not see action in the final two team sections of practice.

Jenkins had a nice block on an outside zone run to the right, pushing the defender back several yards. He was also beaten by Sam Kamara off the edge a few plays later.

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